Thailand ARRC: Sethu qualifies seventh but crashes
Honda Racing India rider Rajiv Sethu qualified a career-best seventh for the opening race of the Thailand Asia Road Racing Championship round, but two separate incidents left him a lowly 22nd in the final classifications
Sethu showed a massive upturn in performance after practice to qualify on the third row of the grid, just 0.768s adrift of the pole-sitter astride his Honda CBR250 RR.
However, his hard work was undone when he got bogged down at the start, his bike suffering a massive twitch as it left its grid spot.
That left Sethu plummeting down the order to 21st, leaving him with a mountain to climb in the 10-lap race.
However, slowly but steadily he started clawing his way up the pack, reaching 10th position at the start of the final lap.
Unfortunately, while trying to catch a slipstream, Sethu crashed at turn 3 after suffering a massive high-side. He was able to remount on the bike immediately, but could only cross the line in 22nd place.
“After my best ever qualifier finish, I was charged up for Race 1,” Sethu said. “But I missed a good start and got held back in the chasing bunch.
“However, I made a steady recovery and by the last lap returned to Top 10. I pushed harder but crashed. My aim then was to just finish the race. I’m sad to not meet my target but I learnt a lot. Tomorrow, my aim is to finish in top 10.”
ARRC rookie and Sethu’s teammate Senthil Kumar had a less eventual race, qualifying 20th and finishing 18th.
“I started strong but after early impact with another rider, I lost my bunch in turn 5 of lap 1,” he said.
“Thereafter, I rode the next 7 laps alone with focus on correcting my mistakes. My target for tomorrow is to correct my mistakes and challenge for a Top 15 finish.”
Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd added: “After a great start, we were confident of achieving our target today.
“I’m happy that the rider and machine are competing in the top lot now with Rajiv achieving his best ever 7th spot in qualifying.
“Surely, we missed a great opportunity. Rajiv’s fighting spirit stood out and led to his recovery back to Top 10 until the crash in last lap.”
The Thailand ARRC round continues on Sunday, with the second Asia Production 250cc race taking place in the afternoon.
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